DFTA, DOHMH, and Mayor's Office of ThriveNYC(now the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health) Partner to Re-launch Public Awareness Campaign on Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse Threatened
Click Image for Elder Abuse Campaign Photos

NEW YORK (December 18, 2019) – The New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA), Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and Mayor's Office of ThriveNYC(now the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health) partner to raise awareness of increased rates of elder abuse during the holiday season and the City’s available services. Through an advertising campaign, the City reminds older New Yorkers to call 311 if they suspect elder abuse or to connect to free support for physical and mental health, and to call 911 for emergencies.

One-third of elder abuse victims experience depression, anxiety or trauma, making it difficult for them to take steps to address the abuse. Through ThriveNYC(now the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health), the City’s mental health initiative, older adult victims can be connected with free physical and mental health treatment options in their communities.

"There is never an excuse for elder abuse. Older adult victims need to know that there are free and accessible services that can help them to safety," said Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. "Together with our sister-City agencies, we have re-launched this poignant campaign that displays the brutal and horrible realities of elder abuse."

"This campaign shines a light on elder abuse, which is too often kept in the shadows," said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. "If you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, help is available. No one should suffer in silence."

"No one should suffer alone, and our city has real resources available to make sure that older New Yorkers have the support they need. Working with DFTA, we’ve created a Friendly Home Visiting program and put clinicians in senior centers, and this campaign against elder abuse is a part of that same critically important commitment," said Susan Herman, Director of the Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC(now the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health).

The campaign, which originally ran in early 2016, includes a series of four images that spotlight older adult victims. Over each image, the word Threatened, Beaten, or Robbed is displayed in bold letters across the bruised, shocked, and saddened victim’s face. From mid-December through the end of January, the campaign will appear in Spanish, Traditional Chinese, and Russian, primarily in community and ethnic media outlets, on the radio, bus shelters, Public Service Announcements, and link NYC Kiosks.

In 2011, DFTA conducted a study and found that only 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse are reported to a social services provider or law enforcement. The study also found that during a one-year period, 76 in 1,000 older New York State residents were victims of elder abuse. The highest rate of mistreatment was financial exploitation, which accounted for 41 out of 1000 surveyed.

DFTA partners with community-based programs throughout the five boroughs to provide elder abuse victims with crisis intervention and safety planning. The programs also help victims compile evidence, work with authorities, and seek compensation through the New York State Office of Victim Services. Learn more about the City’s elder abuse resources.

If you are a victim of elder abuse, call 311 and ask for “elder abuse” to be connected to services.

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The New York City Department for the Aging works to eliminate ageism and ensure the dignity and quality of life of New York City's diverse 1.6 million older adults. DFTA also works to support caregivers through service, advocacy, and education. DFTA is the largest area agency on aging in the U.S.

Media contact:
Suzanne Myklebust